Remember Biden’s Three Scenarios for Iraq: 1)One side kills the other 2)Federalization/fragmentation 3)Return of a Tyrant.
Well the Kurdish government is now rethinking its backing of Maliki and is claiming he is the new Saddam.
The Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga (the Kurdish militia) are preparing to go to war with another. That would be two US allies btw. Remember that every time you hear the Fred Thompson’s of the world like last night proclaim at the Rep. Convention “we are winning” in Iraq. Who the F–k is We Dude? If the Iraqi Army and the Kurds fight each other who wins homes?
The Shia Arab v. Kurd fight involves where the Blue Line (the Kurdish Autonomous Regional Zone) exactly should be drawn vis a vis Khanaqin. [See the map under the green marked territory of Diyala north and slightly east of Baghdad].
Kirkuk is a powder keg ready to blow at a any second notice. That is a Sunni Arab v. Kurd fight but now is bringing in the Shia government because the Kurds backed Maliki on the premise that he would deal them Kirkuk for their support. The Kurds feel he is not moving quickly enough.
If there is a Scenario #4, it’s the Lebanonization of Iraq. The Kurd and Shia alliance has been the dominant force since the US invasion and if it breaks down, all hell will be loosed. There is no way the Iraqi Army can cross the Blue Line. That is the 54-40 or Fight Marker for the Kurds. They will war if the Iraqi Army crosses that border.
Maliki is balking at the Sunni tribesmen, the Mahdi Army, wants the US out, and now wants to start some stuff with the Kurds. This could break up along all kinds of lines. Weird temporary alliances. Arab vs. Kurds. Shia Group 1 with Sunni Group 2 versus Shia Group 2 & Sunni Group 1.
The Kurds would likely turn to the Sunni if they fought the Shia except that they want to cleanse Kirkuk of the Sunni. So there could be a pan-Arab (Shia and Sunni) versus Kurd battle. I don’t know, but it’s going to get very ugly very quickly I’m worried.
[Added snark: Think Sarah Palin can explain this fight and what to do about it?]